Are You a Good Swan or a Bad Swan?
Review of Swan Lake, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Feb. 13th 2014 Performance
From: Roving Pittsburgher Report and PositivePittsburghLiveMagazine.com
Written By: Stephanie Curtice | Feb.14, 2014
I have been to many classical performances, yet at this one I found myself as one of those people confused about when to clap. At the symphony, don’t clap between movements. But, at the ballet? I didn’t know. Surprisingly, I had only been to a ballet one other time, as a child when I went for a school field trip to the Nutcracker. This is, of course, another ballet composed by Tchaikovsky. I don’t know why I hadn’t gone more, but I’m glad this was my first “big kid” trip to the ballet. And what better one, than the quintessential Swan Lake? It was beautiful and astonishingly athletic. I was worried that I wouldn’t follow the plot without words or singing, but there was no need. The story line was clear and medium of ballet told it perfectly. I was surprised of how moving the story was. It was truly beautiful.
(photo credit: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre)
The ballet begins kind of like Cinderella. The Prince Siegfried (Robert Moore) at the castle, being told by his Queen Mother there will be a ball. And to that ball all eligible princesses shall attend, each in hopes that he will choose her to be his bride. After planning, the Prince and his friends go hunting in the forest. Then taking aim at a beautiful swan, he sees the most amaizing thing. The white swan magically turns into a beautiful maiden named Odette (Julia Erickson). They quickly fall in love and she tells him of her curse.
Julia Erickson, Robert Moore, and swans
(photo credit: Nick Coppula)
After a second intermission, Odette and the other swans share in their sadness of the curse, turn of events, and impending doomed life of forever living as a swan. The Prince arrives to beg for forgiveness and their true love is reaffirmed. Unfortunately, because the Prince was tricked into falling for Odile, Odette is destined to remain a swan forever. The only way to break the curse and kill the evil Sorcerer at this point is Odette’s death. Together in true love, the Prince and Odette leap to there deaths, off of a cliff, into the lake. The end.
Ok, so maybe instead of fairy tale like, its more Romeo and Juliet like, and the “happily ever after” is more suggested to be restricted to the afterlife. But I think that minor detail floated right over the heads of all of the little princesses in the audience.
Rosalie O'Connor Photography)
- There are a few prescribed sets of choreography for the entire show, and the choreography used in this presentation was by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, circa 1895.
- There are multiple possible endings for the ballet.
- Originally Odile was just an enchantress, not a swan/girl like Odette
- The score most frequently used is actually an arrangement by Tchaikovsky’s brother Modeste and Ricarrdo Drigo.
- The “Swan Theme” was used in Dracula, the 1931 film starring Bela Legos, and The Mummy, the 1932 film starring Boris Karloff.
The evening was full of graceful dancing including the signature “fluttering of wing” by the swans, fun and athletic leaps by the Jester (Yoshiaki Nakano), pristine pirouettes by Odette, and festive dances by the hopeful princess guests in the Czardas, Spanish, Neopolitan and Mazurka styles. Every aspect of the dancing and finely played music was engaging. It was a great first experience at the ballet!
Friday, Feb 14th | 8 PM | Benedum Hall
Saturday, Feb 15th | 2 PM | Benedum Hall
Saturday, Feb 15th | 8 PM | Benedum Hall
Sunday, Feb 16th | 2 PM | Benedum Hall
By: Stephanie Curtice
Good News and Cultural Reporter
(c) PositivelyPittsburghLiveMagazine.com 2014